People love their pets as if they were their own family. So what pet owner wouldn’t want to give their beloved furry friends the very best products available to help them live a long, happy and healthy life?
This is the inspiration for Healthy Dogma.
This charming Lake Orion store has been open for more than three years, but they have been running an online business for eight. “Our online business grew so much we couldn’t afford to do it out of our house anymore!” laughs Darby Peters, marketing manager of the family business.
The initial impetus for Healthy Dogma, in its original online-only incarnation, was to sell supplements for dogs with cancer and other serious illnesses. The Peters family has always loved animals and felt that because there are similar homeopathic remedy supplements for humans with cancer that the same sort of supplements should be available for people’s beloved pets.
The products sold at Healthy Dogma are made with the health of their doggie clientele in mind. None of the products they make or sell contain corn, wheat, soy, or any kind of byproduct. “A lot of the items you find at the big block stores [from producers like] Beneful and Science Diet spend a lot of money on their advertising but not so much on nutrition,” Peters says. “We like to focus on the nutrition [aspect].”
All of the products they purchase are also made in North America, including the ingredients they source to make their own Healthy Dogma label products.
The Healthy Dogma product line launched about a year ago. When their own dog had cancer, the Peters family didn’t like what was available to them on the market so they decided to make their own. They did extensive research on what kinds of food are healthy for dogs (and what actually weakens them), then worked on developing their own recipes. They now sell pet food pre-mixes (you add the meat), supplements and treats for dogs that are also carried at pet supplies stores throughout southeastern Michigan and across the country. These all-natural, grain-free products utilize ingredients like vegetables, whole eggs, flax meal and ginger root with no preservatives or chemical additives.
They recently acquired a new warehouse located just down the road from their storefront and will be expanding their online and wholesale business with the Lake Orion store as the base of operations.
But the store isn’t just a health food store for dogs. “When we opened the store we felt we should have items for healthy dogs too,” says Peters. Inside you will find a wide range of items for your dog, like at any other pet store: not just healthy dog food and supplements but dog treats, chew toys, biscuits, bones, leashes and other items, including seasonal items like dog bone “candy canes” for the holidays.
This Saturday they are introducing a new dog food line from Canada called Nutreco during which time a representative from the company will share his expansive knowledge on dog nutrition and all Nutreco products will be 20% off.
Healthy Dogma’s concern for the health and welfare of dogs isn’t just limited to nutrition. They also host fundraising events on behalf of Lake Orion’s Canine Companions Rescue Center, which last year alone rescued and fostered about 900 dogs out of their own homes. “Customers will come in and we’ll say they have to donate $2 to get a certain percentage off. We get a couple thousand people to come in locally and raise a few thousand dollars for Canine Companions.”
As anyone might be skeptical about just how effective nutritional supplements are for humans, there is certainly some skepticism about how effective they might be for dogs. But by being at the store and seeing their furry customers come in regularly, Peters can actually see the animal’s condition improving over time. She shares a story about a supplement for arthritis that they sell, and seeing dogs that could barely move one day come back a few weeks later playful, energetic and able to run around.
And how do they know if a new flavor will work? Well … “Quite a few dogs come in every day. We always have a lot of testers!”